"One Drawing for Every Page of Moby Dick"
Matt Kish, the artist behind "One Drawing for Every Page of Moby Dick," explains himself:

"Before this, most of the art I made had been excessively detailed, really overwrought, and incredibly time consuming to complete. I got really sick of working like that. I wanted something different, so I decided that for the Moby-Dick project I would do one piece a day, every day, until I was done. And I have a full time job too. And a wife. And a life. For me, that kind of pace was almost inconceivable. I decided to just do whatever I wanted with the art, even if it looked crude or raw. After all, I had no one to please or disappoint but myself."

"...and in all seasons and all oceans declared everlasting war with the mightiest animated mass that has survived the flood; most monstrous and most mountainous! That Himmalehan, salt-sea Mastodon, clothed with such portentousness of unconscious power, that his very panics are more to be dreaded than his most fearless and malicious assaults!"

"Impulsively, I grabbed the first paperback edition of Moby-Dick I could find, which turned out to be the Signet Classic edition from 1992 with 552 pages. Looking back, maybe I should have thought things through a bit more since I've seen quite a few editions with around 400 pages, which would have saved me an awful lot of time. But that's the way things turned out and that's the edition I am sticking with even though it will take me at least a year and half of constant and daily work to complete. Probably more. I seem to be able to average about 20 to 25 pieces per month. Sometimes more, sometimes less."

"I've avoided looking at other artist's interpretations of Moby-Dick, and for the most part have avoided looking at any other art in general while I work on this. I want the art to come from me and not from what I'm looking at. Some of the art I'm making depends on the viewer having at least some general knowledge of Moby-Dick, and I think it would probably be really hard for someone who hasn't read the book to get the whole story simply by looking at my art. When deciding what to illustrate from a particular page, I try to focus on what seem to be the most important elements from that part of the story. Still, these aren't storyboards or comic book pages so I'm not trying to tell the full story of Moby-Dick in pictures."

"...Jonah feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling hour, when the whale shall hold him in the smallest of his bowel's wards."

"I'm working my way through the whole book in order, beginning with page 1 and ending with page 552. I'm not working ahead or jumping around to the pages I might like the most. If all goes well, I should complete this some time in March 2011. We'll see about that."

"People often ask me about the materials, especially the found paper I use. While I was in grad school, I worked in a used book store. Customers would bring in boxes of old books to sell to us, and we would evaluate them and resell most of them. Often, we ended up with lots of old books and maps and other paper ephemera that was just not going to sell due to condition, obscurity, or some other factor. Sometimes we priced these items at a dollar or even fifty cents and shelved them in our bargain section, but more often than not we simply discarded them. Dumpster time."

"I was fascinated by these old pages, so I began stockpiling anything that looked interesting. I was especially intrigued by maps, diagrams, schematics, tables, science stuff and repair guides. I didn't know what I would do with it all, but I knew that some day I would use it. When I decided to start this Moby-Dick project, the time seemed right. So I suppose the paper is not truly "found" since I was looking for it, but all of the paper has been used, discarded, harvested, and repurposed by me.

"Depend upon it, landlord, that harpooneer is a dangerous man."

"In terms of art supplies, I use whatever I want. Especially whatever I can scavenge or buy for cheap, like acrylic / craft paints, ballpoint pens, collaged stuff from magazines, crayons, ink, magic markers, nail polish, spraypaint, stickers, watercolors and whatever looks interesting. I don't use any digital effects on the art at all other than to scan the images and occasionally correct slight color or contrast imbalances so the digital image more closely resembles the actual art.

"I am not an artist. I have no formal artistic training or education. I taught myself everything through trial and error. I've never had a gallery show. I work very hard on each image and I do the best I can, but ultimately I do what I want to do with art, and that's that."


Wouldn't you love to own a Matt Kish edition of Moby Dick, sold on a flash drive shaped liked a whale's tooth and covered in ship-flavored scrimshaw?

The flash drive would hold a colossal amount of data, just like the belly of the fearsome sperm! It could even hold a full reading of "Moby Dick" performed by Robert Downey, Jr. and accompanied by 60+ hours of soothing ambient electrosoul by ++++MOBY!!!!++++

Posted by miracle on Tue, 22 Dec 2009 01:20:49 -0500 -- permanent link

The Gallery at LPR
158 Bleecker St., New York, NY
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

All content c. 2008-2009 by the respective authors.

Site design c. 2009 by sweet sweet design